Anna Paquin has been acting since the age of seven, which led her to become the second youngest Oscar winner in history. Even with this phenomenal achievement, she's best known for her work in franchises like True Blood and The X Men Trilogy.
Anna Paquin's childhood
The daughter of PE teacher Brian and his English teacher wife Mary, Anna was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in Canada on July 24, 1982.
The family moved to New Zealand in 1986, where she grew up alongside older siblings Andrew and Katya. Her stage debut came aged seven with a brief appearance in a school play as a skunk - "I leapt on stage and then skipped off" - but a career as an actress was not in her plans. "I wanted to be prime minister of New Zealand," she says. "Or, failing that, a lawyer."
Though mostly educated Down Under, Anna who was a keen musician, playing the viola, cello, and piano completed her high-school education in Los Angeles, where she moved with her mother, brother and sister after their parents divorced.
Anna Paquin's breakout role in The Piano
A part in a TV commercial led to her auditioning for the role of Holly Hunter's daughter in The Piano in 1993, a role which, to her amazement, she secured despite competing against 5,000 applicants.
An even bigger surprise came when she learned her performance has been recognised with a best supporting actress Academy Award. "I was in a state of shock," she admits. "I thought I was going to sit in the audience clapping with everyone else while some other actor went up to get the award. Instead, I was the one going up there, in front of hundreds of people." In the wake of her Oscar win high-profile movie offers came in thick and fast.
In 1996 she starred as a young Jane Eyre in the movie of the same name, and shortly after appeared in Fly Away Home. Taking a hands-on approach to her career, Anna chose each new project independently, keen to ensure each one brought a new challenge. She extended her horizons with 1999 romantic comedy She's All That before taking on the role of Rogue in the commercially successful X-Men trilogy, alongside fellow Canadian Shawn Ashmore, Halle Berry and Hugh Jackman.
Anna Paquin's role in True Blood and subsequent success
Anna became best-known for her role as Sookie Stackhouse in HBO vampire drama True Blood based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris, which she co-starred in with Alexander Skarsgård. The series, which ran for six years between 2008 and 2014, received a cult following - much like the books - for its steamy content, joining the likes of Twilight and The Vampire Diaries in the late-2000s vampire boom.
Since the end of True Blood, Anna has taken on roles sporadically over the years. She played Peggy Sheeran in Martin Scorsese's The Irishman, and acted in 2021's sport biopic American Underdog with Dennis Quaid.
Anna Paquin's personal life
Despite her Hollywood success, Anna lead a fairly normal life unlike many other young starlets. She's found time to hone her French-language skills and enjoys hobbies such as running, swimming, downhill skiing, reading and knitting while continuing to earn plaudits for her acting skills. She is married to True Blood co-star Stephen Moyer as of 2010, with two children.